JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis said attack ads launched on television and radio targeting him in the campaign for governor contain lies.
The television advertisement daws a line between DeSantis, campaign donors, special interests and a condo where he once lived. The ad implies they're connected as a quid-pro-quo.
"It's BS," DeSantis said. "The radio ad was actually were taken down at six stations because they were false, you know - this ad alleging that somehow I received something. Totally false."
DeSantis said it's true he wanted to live in his district when the district lines were changed two years ago. DeSantis was running for Senate, and when Senator Marco Rubio left the presidential race, DeSantis decided to run for re-election to the House.
That's when DeSantis said he reached out to a friend, who owns a condo in the district. DeSantis presented a copy of the $10,000 check he said shows how much he paid to rent the home between July and November 2016.
"We needed a place to stay for four months. So I paid full boat," DeSantis said. "I got nothing for free. Nothing for discount."
It doesn't appear DeSantis paid below market value for the condo. A similar property in the same building is listed for rent at less than $1,700 per month, opposed to the $2,000 per month DeSantis claimed he paid.
Matt Connell is the owner of the condo. His company, Total Military Management, is the "special interest" referred to in the attack ad. DeSantis said the company has never lobbied for him or his House of Representatives office on any issue.
"He'll tell you I paid him higher rent than any of the other tenants he had, and I paid the full rent up front," DeSantis said. "And they're trying to act like he's a defense contractor? He has never had a defense contract. It's never been anything he's been involved with, and he's never come to me for anything having anything to do with what I'm doing."
It's difficult to tell where the attack ad came from because it's officially produced by National Liberty Federation. The foundation doesn't have an official relationship with Adam Putnam, who is the other Republican candidate for Governor.